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Justice and the Rise of Resurrection

An analysis of justice, martyrdom, and the afterlife in the

Hebrew Bible, Deuterocanonical Literature, and the New Testament

C. Scott Andreas | December 2006

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

I. Introduction ::

The books composing the Hebrew Bible and New Testament are not static documents that can be
read without attention to the cultural backgrounds of their authors. Indeed, the historical
development of thought concerning death and eternity among the Israelites is critical to
understanding the dynamic evolution of justice from early Hebrew scriptures through later
Deuterocanonical texts and into the New Testament. Seeds of an afterlife can be found even in the
Pentateuch, but these are only vague allusions to a shadowy existence beyond the grave. This essay
explores the textual sprouting and growth of these seeds into concepts of justice as executed in the
present age and in eternity.

Israelites had not connected the afterlife to a concept of justice until the second century BCE. The
sociopolitical realities of persecution and oppression during this period resulted in a theodicial crisis
as kingdoms collided; martyrdom functioned as a catalyst to the development of an idea of justice
beyond history. Later New Testament authors extended resurrection to all of God’s people but
prescribed judgment beyond the grave for the unrepentant, establishing a posthumous mechanism
for putting matters to rights for martyrs and non-martyrs alike. As we shall see, the New Testament
draws extensively upon concepts and metaphors found in the Hebrew Bible to develop a notion of
justice with resurrection at the center.

II. Justice in the Hebrew Bible ::

Before exploring the relationship between justice, martyrdom, and concepts of the afterlife, we must
first understand how some early mechanisms of justice in the Hebrew Bible functioned. The
Israelites relied upon temporal reward and punishment for the actions of an individual or
community. Here, the talionic concept of justice for regulating community life is a useful example.
“Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: fracture for fracture, eye for eye,
tooth for tooth; the injury inflicted is the injury to be suffered” (Lev. 24:19-20; cf. Ex. 21:23-25,
Deut. 19:21). This principle provides a simple mechanism for justice that equalizes the victim and

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

offender through compensation for loss. Though the damage inflicted by restitution may last a
lifetime, the actual punishment is swift and non-recurring.

Numbers 32 provides a useful case for analyzing the inner workings of temporal reward and
punishment for one’s actions: “If you do this…this land shall be your possession before the Lord.
But if you do not do this, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.”
As Klaus Koch argues, this passage implies that actions carry with them correlative consequences;
Yahweh “[facilitates] the completion of something which previous human action has already set in
motion” (61). Early Israelites did not understand misfortune as God’s punishment so much as sin
running its course. The relationship between actions and consequences is causal in this model; the
passage speaks of the relationship in terms of “if…then…if…then…” These consequences also occur
within human history; though no timeline is established, the ominous tone of the phrase “your sin
will find you out” indicates that somewhere, sometime, the effects of sin will come to bear upon the

Exodus 34, however, indicates that reward and punishment can extend far beyond the lifetime of an
“…‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and
faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s
children, to the third and fourth generation’” (Exodus 34:6-7).

This example shows that the consequences for an action or pattern of behavior can reverberate
through history. Perhaps more significantly, this model of justice rejects individualized notions of
guilt. Instead, Yahweh holds families and communities accountable by “visiting the iniquity of the
parents upon the children.” Rather than carrying rewards or punishments to the grave, one’s legacy
can pass from generation to generation much like land or property. Even so, all consequences occur
within the boundaries of human history.

This should not come as a surprise. Textual evidence supporting a meaningful existence beyond the
grave in early Israelite literature is scant. Instead, the departed descended to “Sheol,” a shadowy
realm also described as “the Pit” or “the grave” (Ps. 88:3-5). Qohelet put it bluntly: “All go to one

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again” (3:20). There is no future for the dead in
these passages. As historian and biblical scholar N.T. Wright argues, “for the vast majority in
ancient Israel…patriarchs, peasants, kings, and ordinary Israelites would indeed lie down to sleep
with their ancestors. YHWH’s purposes, however, would go forwards and would be fulfilled in their
time” (Wright 102). The people hoped for justice executed according to the Law within history, but
understood that extended periods of injustice would be resolved by God’s faithfulness to the
covenant in time.

Yet we find complicating examples even in the Pentateuch. After walking with God for sixty-five
years, Enoch “was no more, because God took him” (Gen 5:24). The passage implies that God
rewarded Enoch’s righteousness by preventing his descent to Sheol. The text provides no details
concerning where he went, setting the stage for later speculation. Conversely, Num. 16:30 seems to
unite Sheol with punishment: “if…they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these
men have despised the Lord.” However, the Genesis passage does not mention reward beyond
Enoch’s lifetime – only that he did not die. Similarly, the Numbers example does not describe Sheol
as a place of punishment. In both examples, the consequences are death or deliverance from it:
death swallowed up the doomed (cf. Isa. 5:14), while Enoch escaped the grave. These early texts in
the Hebrew Bible can be considered seeds of what will later develop into a notion of divine justice
executed after death.

Later wisdom literature circa 500 - 300 BCE such as Qohelet supports this claim. In 3:19-20, the
teacher proclaims that “the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same…all go to one place;
all are from dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and
the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth?” For the ancient Israelites, there was no life after
death for people just as there was none of animals – the grave lacked a discerning palate. Some read
verse 21 as an indication that an idea of a spiritual afterlife was gaining traction. Wright, however,
argues that this was not the case. Instead, the rhetorical question suggests that the same breath of life
departs from humans and animals as both descend to a shadowy death; further, “even if there was
such a theory, this verse would be challenging it with straightforward agnosticism” (Wright 98).

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

This passage stands as one of many glimmers of hope for a pleasant hereafter. Yet Qohelet does not
connect this hope with a post-mortem execution of justice.

Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones offers a more concrete notion of resurrection-as-justice.
Writing near the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE, the prophet’s words likely refer
to God’s promise to restore Israel from exile. Ezekiel 37:1-14 narrates a progressive transformation of
dry bones into full bodies using a curious illustration: “I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh
to come upon your, and over you with sin, and put breath in you, and you shall life…” (37:6).
With the bodies reconstituted, Yahweh commanded the prophet to call upon the four winds to
restore the breath of life to the slain and promised to make his dwelling “among them forevermore”
(37:27). The vision employs recreative and restorative metaphor resembling later concepts of bodily
resurrection to describe the return from exile:
“Then he said to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up,
and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God:
I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to
the land of Israel” (Ezek. 37:11-12).

Scholars remain ambivalent regarding whether or not this passage indicates an idea of resurrection.
The NRSV commentary suggests that alternate interpretations of the slain in this passage complicate
readings of the vision as a “straightforward allegory of Israel in exile” (37:7-10). Wright concurs,
concluding that the passage can be taken as “a metaphor for national restoration” or more broadly as
a reference to the “actual concrete” “renewal of the whole cosmos” (117). Regardless, all
interpretations are problematic, perhaps indicating the slow development of a more comprehensive
idea of resurrection among the Israelites in the sixth century BCE.

III. Justice, Martyrdom, and Resurrection in Classical Antiquity ::

In light of early textual silence and later dissonance, the abrupt pronouncement of the resurrection of
the dead in Daniel 12 is unprecedented. The author writes:
“There shall be a time of anguish…but at that time your people shall be delivered…Many of those who sleep in
the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those
who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars
forever and ever” (Dan. 12:1-3).

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

This passage indicates a firm belief in an afterlife, but also hints at a divided posthumous experience
that is connected to reward and punishment. At some point following death, “many shall awake” to
their just deserts; “the wise” awake to glorious immortality while others find everlasting shame.
Though the latter portion of the passage omits a correlative punishment for the evil, the parallel
construction seems to imply it. For reasons we’ll see in a moment, it’s important to note that the
rewards and punishments described in this passage occur in the context of “anguish” and
deliverance. In any case, Daniel certainly connects a concept of the afterlife with the execution of

What spurred this sudden development? Here, a historical perspective is useful. Though Daniel is
set in the sixth century BCE, Milne and Collins argue that it “took its final form during Antiochus’
persecution of the Jews” which began in 167 BCE (1168). After re-conquering Jerusalem,
Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the temple, outlawed Jewish rituals, forbade the worship of
Yahweh, tortured the Israelites, and set himself up as “God Manifest” (Britannica “Antiochus”).
Others called him the “Shining One,” a name resembling the description of the righteous in Daniel
12 who “shine like the stars forever” (Thornton 2). During this time, war, death, and martyrdom
began to “impinge more and more on ‘ordinary’ life” (Davies 112). The magnitude of Antiochus’
oppression and injustice could not be ignored.

This calamity resulted in nothing less than a theodicial crisis. How could a just God permit a
foreign king to desecrate the temple and murder his chosen people? While 2 Maccabees cannot be
considered a reliable source of historical data, its portrayal of martyrs is helpful for understanding
how some Israelites may have rationalized the situation. During this period, many understood the
oppression as divine discipline for the sins of the people, marking a subtle departure from Koch’s
action-consequence construct. As one martyr explained to Antiochus before meeting his demise,
“…we are suffering because of our own sins. And if our living Lord is angry for a little while, to
rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants” (2 Macc. 7:31-33).
Hoping for justice within history, this martyr believed that his people’s suffering would pass once
Yahweh’s wrath was satisfied.

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

Even so, this explanation was insufficient for some – perhaps the desecration of the temple and
horrific torture were too much to bear. In any case, another martyr explained his plight as a
precursor to eternal reward: “‘One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish
the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!’”
(2 Macc. 7:14). Though the communal suffering of the people absolved their collective guilt, the
martyr’s suffering on behalf of the community merited a special reward: resurrection from the dead.
As Segal argues, the author of this account understood resurrection as “the remedy given by God to
the Jews because of the cruelty and oppression of foreign domination” (269). Life after death
resolved the theodicial tension by establishing a mechanism for justice beyond the grave.
Eternal life was also a symbol of Yahweh’s power and might in 2 Maccabees. The martyrs’ boasting
in resurrection suggests faith in the Lord’s ultimate triumph over Antiochus IV. Though the king
could end a life, resurrection prevented him from claiming his temporal triumph over the Israelites
as a final victory. In the end, Yahweh would restore justice by turning the tables: Antiochus would
die and the martyrs would live. The new concept of eternal recompense turned the king’s most
powerful weapon against him.

Yet the martyrs do not mention eternal punishment for the persecutors. The fourth brother told the
king that his death as an oppressor would be final, but a correlative idea of punishment beyond
death is nowhere to be found in the text (2 Macc. 7:14, cited above). Instead, punishment for
persecuting the Israelites worked just as it had in generations past: “See how his mighty power will
torture you and your descendents!” proclaimed the fifth brother (2 Macc. 2:17). The blood spilt at
the hand of Antiochus’ would testify to his guilt, overflowing into future generations and repaying
torture for torture. As such, the Israelites entered the intertestamental period with an established
(though disputed) concept of justice as executed through resurrection for martyrs and punishment in
the present age for oppressors and their descendents.

Not all scholars agree that these few accounts can be considered evidence for a belief in recompense
for martyrdom. Shmuel Shepkaru argues that 2 Maccabees’ discussion of “martyrdom and
resurrection of ‘body and soul’ in the here and now display the author’s attempt to instill new
concepts in his circle” (4). He invalidates the idea that Israelites had solidified a notion of justice

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

beyond death by disputing the validity of the text. Instead, he claims that Jews did not connect
martyrdom with a notion of resurrection-as-justice until the First Crusade at the turn of the twelfth
century. At this point, Shepkaru reverts to a similar theodicial explanation:
“A logical explanation would be the survivors’ natural need to rationalize the tragic outcomes of the crusaders’
butchery. Compensating all casualties of crusader violence with the only possible reward, therefore, enabled the
living to cope with the painful realization of physical defeat” (36).

Shepkaru’s explanation is problematic for two reasons. First, Daniel confirms that a notion of life
after death existed among the Israelites in the second century BCE. Since such an idea was present
in the ether of Israelite thought at that time, the theodicial explanation would be equally valid in 167
BCE as in 1096; the same element of persecution by a powerful oppressor was present. Second,
Shepkaru argues that martyrdom in later Talmudic literature does not “emerge as…a misvah that
could guarantee a place in the world to come” (27). This indicates that later Jews were divided
concerning the relationship between justice and martyrdom, but it does not invalidate the fact that
life beyond the grave had been connected to justice long before 1096. Even if 2 Maccabees stands as
a marginalized exception in Israelite thought, it proves that at least some had united justice and the
afterlife prior to the rise of Judaism and Christianity in the Common Era.

Alan Segal reconciles the diversity of thought concerning justice and immortality by approaching the
problem from the perspective of a cultural anthropologist. Sensing textual disagreement concerning
the form of existence beyond the grave, he sees “a clear relationship between martyrdom and
immortality” but does not attempt to postulate a unified perspective. Segal concludes that “the
particular kind of immortality depends entirely on the…social position and predisposition of the
writer” (387). As such, the fluidity of thought concerning justice and the afterlife prior to the first
century indicates that a relationship between the two had been established, but the precise nature of
the afterlife remained unsettled.

Accounts in the New Testament confirm that disagreement among early Jewish sects extended into
the Common Era. Acts 23, for instance, narrates Paul’s appearance before the Sanhedrin. Speaking
to a divided audience of Pharisees and Sadducees, he proclaimed that he stood trial for his “hope in
the resurrection of the dead” (23:6). According to the account, the debate among the Pharisees and
Sadducees was so great that it “became violent” – the Sadducees argued that “there is no

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

resurrection,” while the Pharisees defended the concept vigorously (23:8,10). Wright concurs, citing
evidence from Josephus, the Mishnah, and the Talmud; he writes that the Sadducees had “argued
against the doctrine of resurrection,” while the Pharisees “believed strongly” (Wright 135-6). Thus,
the first century was a heated ideological battleground in which divided groups defended diverse
ideas concerning the nature of life, death, and justice in the present age and (perhaps) in the world to

IV. Justice and Resurrection in the New Testament ::

Concepts of justice as executed in and beyond history in the New Testament expand upon those
found in the Hebrew Bible, retaining a vague idea of temporal reward and retribution while raising
the eternal significance of one’s actions. The resurrection of Christ and spiritualized resurrection of
the believer draws God’s justice forth into history, while the final “day of judgment” and
resurrection serve as a catch-all, ensuring that each individual’s beneficent acts are rewarded and sins
punished (Mt. 12:36). As we shall see, New Testament authors often draw upon passages in the
Hebrew Bible, occasionally reinterpreting and re-appropriating them in a new sociopolitical and
religious context. The narrative arc of the New Testament, much like that of the Hebrew Bible, is a
story of life in tension – hope for the future arrival of a promise with work to be done by the people
of God in the meantime.

A comprehensive reading of Jesus’ teaching in light of its historical context sheds light on the New
Testament tension between present injustice and its future resolution. Dennis Duling claims that
Jesus’s central message was “about the kingdom of heaven” (NRSV 1667; see Mt. 4:17). Used in the
historical context of the Roman Empire during the first century, the word “kingdom” was a
politically charged term. As Wright argues, “the kingdom of God was itself, and remained, a
thoroughly political concept” (“Romans” 1). Jesus’s use of political (“kingdom”) and proximal (“has
come near”) metaphors thus bore revolutionary overtones. The coming of the kingdom of heaven
meant a clash of empires – YHWH’s and Caesar’s – within the temporal world, inaugurated by the
incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This political tension underscores the anxious
historical and political context of the New Testament.

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

The phrase “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” (in Mark and Luke) held a religious charge
as well. Several passages in the Hebrew Bible use similar phrasing. The author of 1 Chronicles
29:11, for instance, exalts YHWH as royalty: “Everything in heaven and on earth is yours. Yours,
O Lord, is the kingdom.” The Midrash testifies to the enduring political and religious overtones of
the kingdom metaphor, proclaiming that “when the Kingdom of Rome has ripened enough to be
destroyed, the Kingdom of God will appear” (Kohler 1). As such, the coming of the Kingdom of
God implied the establishment of justice to the Hebrews, early Jews, as well as Christians, but
trouble for the forces of oppression such as the Roman Empire.

The justice of the “kingdom” had many dimensions in Jesus’s teaching, one of which emphasizes the
internal disposition of the individual on a final day of judgment. Jesus establishes a relationship
between thought and practice, teaching that in order for one’s actions to be righteous, one must
think righteously: “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit
bad; for the tree is known by its fruit…How can you speak good things when you are evil?” (Mt
12:33,34). He illustrates the consequences in plain judicial terms: “On the day of judgment you
will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt. 12:36-37). This is significant for two reasons.
First, Jesus shifts righteousness inward; he demands a deeper spiritual obedience that reaches to the
roots of one’s thoughts. Second, he alludes to an individualized notion of justice beyond the grave
using judicial metaphor; both the innocent and the guilty will stand trial and be “justified” or
“condemned” by their words (12:37).

Despite the focus upon the final judgment of the individual beyond history in this passage, the New
Testament also exhibits a strong idea of communal justice within history. The persecuted church
described in Hebrews recapitulates the idea of suffering as divine discipline and purification found in
Proverbs 6:23, Isaiah 57:17-18, 2 Maccabees 6, and elsewhere. Though the church had “not yet
resisted to the point of shedding blood,” the author urged the community to embrace temporal
suffering as the Father’s discipline: “It is for discipline that you have to endure” (Heb. 12:4,7). Just
as the Maccabees understood their martyrdom as discipline and suffering that gives way to a reward,
the persecuted church is encouraged to suffer “for a short time” to purify itself of its collective sins by

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

making themselves “subject to the Father of spirits” (12:9,10). The account of God’s temporal
discipline indicates that the New Testament retained a strong idea of communal justice.

Yet unlike the Maccabean martyrs two centuries prior, New Testament authors developed an idea of
punishment beyond the grave. The author of Hebrews does not speculate upon the destiny of the
church’s oppressors in chapter twelve (cited above). However, Jesus’s parable of the Rich Man and
Lazarus in Luke 16 indicates that justice will be executed in eternity for those who suffer in the
present by turning the tables. In the story, Lazarus laid outside the gate of a rich man, hungry and
“covered in sores” (16:20). The rich man wore the clothes of royalty and “feasted sumptuously”
inside the gate each day (16:19). In death, they switched places. Jesus teaches that the rich man
descended to “Hades, where he was being tormented” while Lazarus was “carried away by the angels
to be with Abraham” (16:22, 23). Jesus speaks of Hades (or Sheol), formerly the shadowy realm of
the dead, as a place of isolation and torment for the unjust. According to the parable, the justice of
the kingdom of God subverts the oppressor and vindicates the oppressed, righting the inequality
through role reversal (cf. talionic justice).

While the passage provides an eternal corrective for victims of injustice, the message of the parable is
that citizenship in the kingdom of heaven implies that followers of Jesus are to advance social justice
in the present age. Lazarus died as a victim of economic inequality and was compensated for his
suffering. The rich man, fully aware of Lazarus’s plight, actively perpetuated the economic
inequality by locking him out of his daily feasts. As such, the rich man’s confinement on the other
side of a “great chasm” stands as a warning for those who participate in systems of socioeconomic
oppression. Other parables such as that of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25 reinforce this
idea; Jesus teaches that those who fail to feed the poor, give drink to the thirsty, invite the stranger in
to sleep, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit those in prison will “go away to eternal
punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (25:31-46). The list resembles a similar litany in
Isaiah 58, a prophetic cry for social justice. In any case, Jesus’s parables teach that individuals bear
the burden of establishing social justice and will be rewarded or punished for their efforts beyond the

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

Yet apocalyptic literature in the New Testament characterizes God’s justice exercised through the life
of the believer as a mere shadow of the justice of the world to come. Revelation narrates the arrival
of the eschaton in terms of creation restored and God dwelling within it:
“See, the home of God is among morals. He will dwell with them; they will be his people, and God himself
will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and
pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’ And the one who was seated on the throne said,
‘See, I am making all things new.’ (Rev. 21:3-5)

Written during the oppressive reign of either Domitian or Nero (81-96 or 54-68 CE; the precise
date of the text is unclear), the author responds to the tumultuous sociopolitical factors of
persecution and martyrdom by narrating the peaceful Shekinah dwelling of YHWH with his people.
This passage abundantly appropriates ideas and metaphors found in the Hebrew Bible; God’s
dwelling among mortals recalls Ezekiel 37 (cited above), applying a concrete re-interpretation rather
than employing the passage as a metaphor for the return from exile. Similarly, the language of “new
heaven and new earth” described in Rev. 21:1 alludes to Isaianic descriptions of renewed creation in
65:17 and 66:22.

As Wright argues, the final establishment of justice in and beyond history for New Testament
authors arrives when “‘heaven and earth’, the twin halves of created reality, are at last united…the
place where the living god will dwell among his people for ever” (470). The end of the story returns
us to the beginning of the Hebrew Bible; the prophesy concerning the eternal dwelling of God
among humanity in the world to come recalls the creative project of Genesis 1 and 2. In this
manner, New Testament Apocalyptic literature positions the reunion of the creator and his
resurrected creation as the culmination of justice in and beyond history.

V. Final Thoughts ::

Our investigation has drawn forth many dissenting voices that frustrate all attempts to draw a simple
arc from “death” through “blissful life after death” to “justice beyond the grave.” Complicating
passages illustrated both the fluidity and diversity of religious thought chronicled in the Hebrew
Bible, as well as a precarious relationship between justice and the afterlife (or rather, what happens
after “life”). Nonetheless, we can make a few conclusions. First, the early Israelites had no concept

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

of life after death. Yahweh executed justice within human history, largely through the relationship
between actions and their consequences. Second, notions of resurrection and an afterlife likely
developed as responses to the problem of theodicy in a world where God permitted the oppression of
his people. Oppression and martyrdom during the second century BCE catalyzed hopes for a
blissful afterlife found late in the Hebrew Bible, leading authors during this period to establish a link
between justice and eternity. Third, dissenting perspectives concerning the afterlife survived into the
first century – this period was home to vigorous debates, as we saw in Acts 23.

While the New Testament draws extensively from the narratives, metaphors, and concepts of justice
found in the Hebrew Bible, its treatment of resurrection constitutes a significant departure from
earlier Israelite thought. We can conclude that resurrection was an essential component justice for
early Christians. First, the New Testament commanded believers to live justly as an image of the
kingdom of heaven while enduring the persecution of the present age. Second, Jesus’s teaching
concerning the importance of internal, individual righteousness eased the theodicial tension by
providing hope for the future. Similarly, the enduring notion of communal suffering-as-purification
in Hebrews rationalized the calamity of temporal oppression. Fourth, the final establishment of
justice in the New Testament is realized in eternity, punishing the unjust but glorifying God and his
resurrected creation.

In this essay, I have examined concepts of justice and their relationship to the development of an
afterlife in the Hebrew Bible, Deuterocanonical literature, and the New Testament. Yet the precise
source of the afterlife in Israelite thought remains elusive; a far more extensive examination of ancient
Near Eastern cultural interaction might yield the answer to this question. Thus, in the same manner
that our exploration of justice throughout the history of the Israelites and early Christians returned
us to the beginning of the Hebrew Bible, so has this study returned us to the starting point of a
historical investigation. Qohelet warns that “those who increase knowledge increase sorrow” – and
he may be right (1:10,18). But history beckons us nonetheless.

Justice and the Rise of Resurrection C. Scott Andreas

Works Cited ::

"Antiochus IV Epiphanes." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 11 Nov.

2006 <>.

Davies, Jon. Death, Burial, and Rebirth in the Religions of Antiquity. London: Routledge, 1999.

Koch, Klaus. “Is There a Doctrine of Retribution in the Old Testament?” Theodicy in the Old

Testament. Ed. James L. Crenshaw. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983. 57-87.

Kohler, Kaufmann. “Kingdom of God.” The Jewish Encyclopedia. Accessed 09 Dec. 2006


Milne, Pamela J., and Collins, John J. “Daniel.” The HarperCollins Study Bible. Ed. Harold W.

Attridge. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2006. 1168-1169.

Segal, Alan F. Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Religions of the West. New York:

Doubleday, 2004.

Shepkaru, Shmuel. “From After Death to Afterlife: Martyrdom and its Recompense.” AJS Review

24.1 (1999): 1-44.

Thornton, Ted. “Persian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Eras.” History of the Middle East Database.

18 Oct. 2006. 11 Nov. 2006


Wright, N.T. “Paul and Caesar: A New Reading of Romans.” A Royal Priesthood: The Use of the Bible

Ethically and Politically. Ed. C. Barholomew. Carlisle: Patermoster, 2002. 173-193.


Wright, N.T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.


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